The Famished Road
Ben Okri, 1991
Winner, 1991 Booker Prize
Ben Okri's The Famished Road has become a classic. Like Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, it combines brilliant narrative technique with a fresh vision to create an essential work of world literature.
This phantasmagorical novel is set in the ghetto of an African city during British colonial rule, and follows the story of Azaro — a "spirit-child" who has reneged on a pact with the spirit world—and the travails of his impoverished, beleaguered family
The narrator, Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria exists between life and death. The life he foresees for himself and the tale he tells is full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably he is born with a smile on his face. Nearly called back to the land of the dead, he is resurrected. But in their efforts to save their child, Azaro's loving parents are made destitute.
The tension between the land of the living, with its violence and political struggles, and the temptations of the carefree kingdom of the spirits propels this latter-day Lazarus's story. (From the publisher.)
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